Toronto-area fan Lloyd Penney sent me a link to Quill & Quire’s post about the John W. Campbell Memorial Award nominees that focuses on the four Canadian finalists — Margaret Atwood for The Year of the Flood (McClelland & Stewart), Cory Doctorow for Makers (Tor Books), Robert J. Sawyer for Wake (Viking Canada), and Robert Charles Wilson for Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America (Tor).
Scrolling down to the comments I found coast-to-coast complaints about Margaret Atwood’s presence on the list from people offended by denials that she writes sf, one quoting her 2009 line that “a book is only sf if it is set ‘somewhere in space, far, far away in a distant galaxy’”.
My own reaction went in a different direction: Does a Campbell memorial award signify anything today? How many of the nominated works would Campbell have wanted for Analog? And no doubt the feeling would have been mutual — How many of the writers would have offered their fiction to that renowned gatekeeper of the Golden Age?
The other authors on the shortlist are: Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (Night Shade Books), Iain M. Banks, Transition (Orbit), Nancy Kress, Steal Across the Sky (Tor), Paul McAuley, Gardens of the Sun (Gollancz), China Mieville, The City & the City (Del Rey), Adam Roberts, Yellow Blue Tibia (Gollancz), Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo’s Dream (Spectra), Bruce Sterling, The Caryatids (Del Rey).
The award will be presented during the Campbell Conference awards banquet at the University of Kansas on Friday, July 16.